FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

NATO / G8 in Chicago

by BRIAN TERRELL

On January 25, the host committee for the G8/NATO summit in Chicago in May unveiled a new slogan for the event, “The Global Crossroads.”  The mood of the organizers is upbeat and positive. This is a grand opportunity to market Chicago with an eye for the tourist dollar and the city is ready, the committee assures us, to deal with any “potential problems.”

One of the potential problems that the committee is confident that it can overcome, according to a report by WLS-TV in Chicago, is “the prospect of large-scale protests stealing the stage as the world watches.” The new slogan stresses the international character of the event and the prestige and economic benefit that hosting world economic and political leaders is expected to bring to Chicago. “We’re a world class city with world class potential,” declares Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “If you want to be a global city, you’ve got to act like a global city and do what global cities do,” says Lori Healey who heads the host committee and who previously led the city’s unsuccessful bid to host the 2016 Olympics.

All indications, unfortunately, are that Chicago is preparing to “act like a global city and do what global cities do” and it appears to want to follow the lead of other “global cities” in dealing with mass demonstrations threatening to “steal the stage;” think Tehran, Beijing, Cairo, Moscow and Seattle, to name a few.

One of the chilling developments the hosting committee announced was that the Illinois State Crime Commission is “urgently seeking Iraq-Afghanistan combat veterans to work security positions for the G8 summit.” The commission’s chairman clarifies that is for “private security” and not to work with the Chicago police. As in other “global cities,” these veterans will be used as private mercenaries without the legal protections and benefits of public employees. The Veterans Administration reports treating about 16% of the 1.3 million of veterans of these two wars for post-traumatic stress disorder and many more do not seek help. In answer to a potentially volatile situation in the streets of Chicago, the commission is not seeking workers trained in conflict resolution, but it has an urgent need for ex-soldiers trained in the violent chaos of Iraq and Afghanistan. These veterans urgently need treatment and meaningful employment, but at the “global crossroads,” they are offered only temp jobs as rent-a-cops protecting the interests of their exploiters.

Beyond touting the overblown promise of money that the summit is expected to bring (“To penetrate international markets takes time and money,” said Don Welsh, Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau) the city and its welcoming committee do not encourage education or reflection on what NATO and the G8 are and what they do. Despite its claims, NATO was never a defensive alliance. It is structured to wage “out of area” wars in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, as well as to “contain” China. NATO’s creed is aggressive, expansionist, militarist and undemocratic. The G8 represents the economic interests of its member states. It is not a legal international entity established by treaty but acts outside the law, with NATO as its enforcer. Chicago law enforcement might better spend its resources on preparing to arrest and prosecute the war criminals, terrorists, torturers, and racketeers coming as invited constituents of G8 and NATO rather than getting ready for mass arrests of citizens coming to Chicago to exercise their right to protest these crimes.

The morning after the host committee unveiled its new slogan, some of us with the Chicago-based Voices for Creative Nonviolence met to discuss our part in the response to the city of Chicago “bringing the war home” by welcoming NATO and G8.

We at Voices found ourselves in agreement with the host committee that Chicago is indeed a global crossroads. This is true not for the world’s financial elite, war profiteers, military brass and heads of state officially welcomed there in May, but for those who come to Chicago from the all over the continent and around the globe to visit or to make their lives there without the criminal intent of NATO and the G8. In May, especially, Chicago will be a global crossroads for the thousands of good people who will gather in the city to lend a hand and take to the streets for justice and peace.

Chicago in May is also a crossroads in that it is a critical place and time for us all to take stock of where we have been and where we are going. We are at a crossroads- do we continue on the road of war and economic exploitation of the planet that NATO and the G8 are committed to, or do we abandon that road and turn a corner toward economic justice and a world at peace. We are at a crossroads and our choices are stark: global domination and the economic and ecological devastation that it makes inevitable or global community.

With this in mind, Voices for Creative Nonviolence decided to call our efforts leading up to the NATO and G8 summit, “At A Global Crossroads:  Turn Against War.” We are starting the ground work for a walk starting on May 1 from Madison, Wisconsin, to arrive in Chicago in time for the summit on May 19.

Brian Terrell is a former mayor of Maloy, Iowa.

Brian Terrell is a co-coordinator for Voices for Creative Nonviolence. He can be reached at: brian@vcnv.org.

Weekend Edition
February 5-7, 2016
Jeffrey St. Clair
When Chivalry Fails: St. Bernard and the Machine
Leonard Peltier
My 40 Years in Prison
John Pilger
Freeing Julian Assange: the Final Chapter
Garry Leech
Terrifying Ted and His Ultra-Conservative Vision for America
Andrew Levine
Smash Clintonism: Why Democrats, Not Republicans, are the Problem
William Blum
Is Bernie Sanders a “Socialist”?
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
We Can’t Afford These Billionaires
Enrique C. Ochoa
Super Bowl 50: American Inequality on Display
Jonathan Cook
The Liberal Hounding of Julian Assange: From Alex Gibney to The Guardian
George Wuerthner
How the Bundy Gang Won
Mike Whitney
Peace Talks “Paused” After Putin’s Triumph in Aleppo 
Ted Rall
Hillary Clinton: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Gary Leupp
Is a “Socialist” Really Unelectable? The Potential Significance of the Sanders Campaign
Vijay Prashad
The Fault Line of Race in America
Eoin Higgins
Please Clap: the Jeb Bush Campaign Pre-Mortem
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
The Invisible Epidemic: Radiation and Rising Rates of Thyroid Cancer
Andre Vltchek
Europe is Built on Corpses and Plunder
Jack Smith
Obama Readies to Fight in Libya, Again
Robert Fantina
As Goes Iowa, So Goes the Nation?
Dean Baker
Market Turmoil, the Fed and the Presidential Election
John Grant
Israel Moves to Check Its Artists
John Wight
Who Was Cecil Rhodes?
David Macaray
Will There Ever Be Anyone Better Than Bernie Sanders?
Christopher Brauchli
Suffer Little Children: From Brazil to Flint
JP Sottile
Did Fox News Help the GOP Establishment Get Its Groove Back?
Binoy Kampmark
Legalizing Cruelties: the Australian High Court and Indefinite Offshore Detention
John Feffer
Wrestling With Iran
Rob Prince – Ibrahim Kazerooni
Syria Again
Louisa Willcox
Park Service Finally Stands Up for Grizzlies and Us
Farzana Versey
Of Beyoncé, Trudeau and Culture Predators
Pete Dolack
Fanaticism and Fantasy Drive Purported TPP ‘Benefits’
Murray Dobbin
Canada and the TPP
Steve Horn
Army of Lobbyists Push LNG Exports, Methane Hydrates, Coal in Senate Energy Bill
Colin Todhunter
“Lies, Lies and More Lies” – GMOs, Poisoned Agriculture and Toxic Rants
Franklin Lamb
ISIS Erasing Our Cultural Heritage in Syria
David Mihalyfy
#realacademicbios Deserve Real Reform
Graham Peebles
Unjust and Dysfunctional: Asylum in the UK
Yves Engler
On Unions and Class Struggle
Alfredo Lopez
The ‘Bern’ and the Internet
Missy Comley Beattie
Super Propaganda
Ed Rampell
Great Caesar’s Ghost!: A Specter Haunts Hollywood in the Coen’s Anti-Anti-Commie Goofball Comedy
Cesar Chelala
The Public Health Impact of Domestic Violence
Ron Jacobs
Cold Weather Comforts of a Certain Sort
Charles Komanoff
On the Passing of the Jefferson Airplane
Charles R. Larson
Can One Survive the Holocaust?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail